Bùi Đức Thụ. — Photo laodong.vn
Bùi Đức Thụ, deputy chairman of the National Assembly’s Committee for Deputy Affairs, speaks to the Lao Động (Labour) newspaper on the need to tightly supervise people with power
The Government and the Party have declared that they will give due punishment to any government officials found guilty of corruption. Do you think that with the Party and Government’s determination, Việt Nam will be able to push back against corruption?
The fight against corruption launched by the Party and Government has received strong support from all Vietnamese people from all walks of life. Many big and serious corruption cases have been discovered and settled, earning high applause from the people.
More recently, many senior Government officials, including ministers, army generals and even a Politburo member have been arrested for corruption. This is an indication of the Party and Government’s resolve to give due sanctions to anyone who violates the laws and to win back the people’s confidence in the leadership of the Party and Government.
Our current fight against corruption has also won high appraisal from international friends far and near. However, as a Vietnamese saying that prevention is better than cure, we should further consolidate our legal documents and adopt measures to prevent bad things from happening in the first place.
We need a pratical mechanism to prevent any acts of corruption from taking place. But what exactly should we have for such a mechanism?
In my opinion, there are four essential points that the mechanism should cover.
First, the principle of transparency and accountability must be held high, so there will be no room for corruption to take place. In my opinion, it is high time for Việt Nam to review all its legal documents relating to production, finance, State management and other areas so that there will be no room for corruption acts to rear their heads.
Second, all law enforcement agencies, including the inspection agency and auditing agency, should cooperate with each other closely so that they can iron out any overlapping responsibilities and other issues. However, even more important, if any of them have detected any signs of suspected activities they should report it to higher authorities.
Third, in the fight against corruption, the work of information, education and communication is essential.
Fourth, if all public employees or Government officials are happy with their monthly salaries, no doubt, they devote their hearts and mind to accomplish their work at their best. A low salary in public work is one of several reasons quite a few wage earners become corrupt.
And finally, the Government should review and reform the current salary system so that all wage earners and their dependent family members can live on what they earn.
Will you please further elaborate on your argument that a low salary has become a factor explaining the corruption of quite a few Government employees?
Yes, low salary is only one of the factors leading to corruption.
Việt Nam has been through many extremely difficult periods, particularly the wars of resistance against France and the US. Of course, during the war time, living conditions of Vietnamese civil servants were much poorer than nowadays. Yet corruption was not a problem then. Everyone did try their best to accomplish any tasks they were assigned. But now that our economy has become better and switched to a market economy with socialist orientation, corruption has become rampant. Quite a few people have abused their power to steal public money or public assets for their own interest. This is a thorny issue for all people of conscience as we think about how to bring these people to justice.
The public servants’ salary should enable all working people to perform their assigned duties at their best. That’s why it is very important for Việt Nam to set a good benchmark for a minimum salary. That minimum salary must ensure a wage earner can live and have some to save for rainy days as well as to bring up their children. The other point I want to add is that the minimum salary should reflect the labour productivity of a Vietnamese wage earner or the country’s GDP per capita. — VNS